Canada 32, 21st August 2006

The trailhead became populated during the night. When I woke up a pickup and 2 tents were in residence. I took a pleasant wander around an interpretative trail. The tenters were still sleeping. Maybe they had been exploring those same bars in Lake Williams that had left Daniel with hazy recollections and were sleeping it off.

I took a photo on the way.

I stopped and had the alignment checked. It wasn't far out and was expensiveish, but I'd have worried I hadn't made the check. I tried a few tyre places but they were too busy. I asked KAL tyres, at the edge of town, if there were any more tyre places going out of town, no he said you'll have to go back to town. The jerk! Back in town no one could do it, but when I returned just after his tyre place there WAS another. That's where I had the check done.

I've driven 200 Km today, that must be a record for me. I was going to stop to see the museum at Quesnel but after the alignment check decided to press on the Barkerville. I have to return to Quesnel to continue northwards to Prince George, I'll see it then. So I had a look at the entrance to Barkerville historic town and then returned to find a forest road and a parking spot.

So I'm now in the middle of a beautiful and quiet wood, close by a small lake, just outside Barkerville, sipping American champagne to celebrate my birthday. Of course I could have gone to a campsite by the town and paid $17 to have a view of lots of other motor homes.

I was at Barkerville bright and early, and was enthralled. At one time it was the biggest city west of Chicago, and North of San Francisco. It was named after Billy Barker who struck gold there in 1862. Massive quantities of gold were found there. Today it could have been a ghost town today but about 50 years ago they decided to preserve it. There are almost 100 described buildings, some are original, some have been rebuilt.

All are furnished in the style of the period.

Ah. This guy is for real. Which reminds me. There were guides but they weren't guides, they were actors, playing parts, interacting with others who came out of shops or houses. OK it's not an original idea but it was well done and brought the whole thing to life. Same with some of the shops hotels and restaurants - all in the original buildings, plying their trade in the old surroundings.

I spent the whole day there, then went back in the evening. I had struck lucky, today was the day for the Chinese lantern parade followed by a short acting piece about the origin of the sun and the moon and a firework display.

Entry was half as much as the Vancouver suspension bridge rip off and it was about a million times better. If it could keep me fascinated for so long I have to put it in the top handful of places I have ever visited. I'm not sure what category it should go in. The brochures call it a historic town but it's more than that. Maybe it could be called a living historic town but it's more than that too.

Back in my parking spot for last night, it was cold during the night, I put my blanket over my sleeping bag. Of course, there were very clear skies. One local told me she could see the Northern Lights, she might have been right. But, like I said it was cold. I put my heater on in the morning.

It seems we are lucky this year. Last year there were only 3 frost free nights, during the whole year. This year there have already been 50 nights when it didn't drop below freezing. But time for me, I think, to be heading back south.

Back in Quesnel I checked emails. Thank you for those who sent me birthday wishes. Then I visited the museum. Super little museum. But they want to change it to reduce the displays. I've written to them to say don't do that!

I drove to Prince George and looked at the Railway and Forestry museum. I'll be as kind as I can, and say it needs a touch - more than a touch - of tlc. (tender loving care). I drove up Constellation Park, the local viewpoint, and took a look at Prince George from the highpoint. Then I departed south, turned off on a forestry road, and stopped for the night.

Late in the evening, at dusk, I heard some howling, and some barking noises. With my binoculars I could just make out some dog looking animals, apparently with long tails. During the night I heard the sounds again. Do they have coyotes up here I wonder, maybe they are wolves...............

Best regards

David Barker

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